Desiring God - Lesson 5

How to Fight for Joy

We must fight relentlessly to see God for who he is.

John Piper
Desiring God
Lesson 5
Watching Now
How to Fight for Joy

How to Fight for Joy

7. How Then Shall We Fight for Joy?


We are thankful for John Piper's willingness to share these lectures with us. Copyright 2014 by Desiring God Ministries. Used with Permission. For more information, please visit www.DesiringGod.org.


Desiring God

Dr. John Piper


How to Fight for Joy

Lesson Transcript


The following message is by Pastor John Piper. More information from Desiring God is available at w w w dot desiring God dot org. Point number seven. About how then, shall we fight for joy? So I'm assuming that at this stage there's a lot of. Okay. I see all those texts. I see that Christian hedonism that is God is most glorified in us when we're most satisfied in Him, and that the Bible calls us to be satisfied in him in all those reasons you gave. But my heart doesn't seem very engaged. And I grew up in a church where they didn't talk much about that. And so that's why we're doing what we're doing here. These are these are practical how questions. And I've got 14 or 15 answers and I'm going to blaze through. I hope to get to as many as I can first realize that authentic joy in God is a gift. Yes, it's commanded and it's a gift. Remember Saint Augustine? He got converted when he was 32. He lived with a mistress for 16 years and was sexually in bondage. As he said, he had one child out of wedlock when he was saved. He never married again. Never married and became Bishop of Hippo. Fourth century. And God gave him a victory over his sexual bondage. And he said, You command continence. Oh, Lord. Command what you will and grant what you command. That's the famous sentence of Augustine. And it's right. It's absolutely biblical. It's a gift. Great. What you command the fruit of the spirit is joy. Restore to me the joy of your salvation. He's asking God to do it. No one can come to me unless the father who sent me draws you. So it's a gift to have joy in God.


So all of our how to questions have to keep that in mind, because you might think, well, if you ask how do you get it, then there must be a way to get it. And that implies it's not a gift, but it's something you can go out and get. No, there is a strategy to pursue it, but it's the gift, period. This is the mystery of the Christian life. How you pursue something which is a gift from a to realize that joy must be fought for relentlessly. You can fall off this fence on either side. You can fall off on the right side, or you can fall off on the gifts side. Say, Oh, it's a gift. We don't need a fight or it's a fight. It's not a gift. It's a fight and a gift. Not that we lord it over your faith, Paul says, But we are workers with you for your joy. I love that definition of a pastor. I am a worker with you for your joy. It describes the goal that I should have as a pastor, and it describes the fact that it's very hard work. It's a fight to be fought. I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your advancement and joy of faith. Going to work. Faith. This is not a verse, in my words here. Faith has joy at its heart. It is being satisfied with all that God is for us in Jesus. Therefore, the good fight of faith is a fight for joy. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith and so on. So fight the fight of faith. And this is all about how to do it. Three Resolve to Attack All Known sin in your life.


Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. If you don't see God, you can't enjoy God. If you're not pure in heart, the lens through which you see God is going to be clouded. Therefore, if you want to see God and enjoy God, you start taking aim at every known sin in your life. And taking aim is the right word. Look at this. Romans 813. If you are living according to the flesh, you must die. But if by the spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. So by the spirit putting to death the deeds of the body, that means sinful deeds. You will live. So you take aim and you kill it. You kill it. John Owens said, Be killing sin or sin will be killing you in the way it kills you is by obscuring your capacity to see and enjoy God. When you're walking with God in cleanness of heart, you see him, You love him, you enjoy him. When you begin to. To pursue sin, your eyes become clouded, your desires for God shrivel up. So if you know a specific sin in your life, take aim at it. And kill it by the spirit. This is a gift. We're talking a gift here. You can't kill any sin unless you do it by the Spirit. The spirit has given us one offensive deadly weapon in Ephesians six, remember? He's got a belt. Truth, helmet, salvation. Breastplate of righteousness. Shield of faith. Shoes of readiness to run with the Gospel and sword of what? The Spirit. Which is the Bible. Okay. There is one weapon with which you can kill something. And you told to kill. Here you are to put to death the deeds of the body.


You do it by the spirit. The spirit has given you the sword. And you do it with the word. That's another seminar called Future Grace on how you Kill Sin by the Word of God. But trust in the short answer is sin always has power by the promises it makes. Therefore, sin is killed by the power of a superior promise. And you get those from the Bible. Number four, learn the secret of gutsy guilt and how to fight like a justified sinner. Now, this may be the most important of the 14 points, so linger here for a minute with me. Think hard. I was just talking with brother about what's been unsaid so far. We've talked a lot about pursuing joy. We've said almost nothing about the cross. Which is terrible. If I leave it there. So here we are about how what what condition are you in as you pursue joy and the reward. And my answer is, if you're a Christian, you're in a totally secure position. The reward of being with Christ and being forgiven and being justified is secure because it all rooted in something you did for you in the past. So here we are. Do not rejoice over me. Oh, my enemy. Though I fall, I will rise. Though I dwell in darkness, the Lord is a light for me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against Him. Until he pleads my case and executes justice for me, he will bring me out to the light and I will see his righteousness. I love that text where it is so realistic. All right. Here's the situation. I have sinned. All right. That's you last night for some time. All right. I have sinned against him.


What's the result of that? He's mad. I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned. So he is indignant. It's not the whole story, but it's true. He's indignant. Therefore I have fallen. No, I say it and I dwell in darkness. There's a cloud. God is angry. He seems distant. I'm contaminated. And I'm in darkness now. In that darkness. In my willingness to bear the indignation. Lord, I'm not making any excuses here. I'm saying I feel horrible. Darkness is over me. God is clouded. I really see. And. And in that darkness, God is a light for me. I will dwell in darkness, though. I dwell in darkness. The Lord is a light for me. It's still dark. He's still indignant and yet light. This is what I mean by gutsy guilt. You're feeling guilty. You know, you should be feeling guilty because you just sin. But in that, you're not collapsing. You're not saying, I guess I'm going to hell. I guess I'm not saved. I guess it's all over for me. You're getting in the face of your sin and seeing God is light to me. And there may be darkness and he may be indignant, but he's my God. And there is light in this darkness. And so you bear the integration of the Lord until he pleads my case. Well, now, wait a minute. He is indignant, right? He's indignant. And you're saying I'm going to sit here and bear this darkness until he pleads my case? And execute judgment for me. Well, I thought he was indignant and against you. No, no, no, no, no, no. He's not against you. You can be angry at somebody and not be against them. If we've gotten angry at your kids the other day, maybe.


Are you against them? Oh, you die for. Wait a minute. Your longings are huge for these kids. Gods anger with us in Christ is not punitive anger. It's not anger that is sending us to hell. It's a displeasure at our failure to live the way we should live. But he's coming at us with grace in this anger. And that's underlined in these two phrases. He is going to plead my case. He's not going to be my accuser. He's going to be my defense attorney. And when judgment falls, he's going to be for me and not against me. And therefore, he's going to bring me out to the light and I'm going to see his righteousness. Therefore, don't you rejoice over me. Oh, you devil. Oh, the devil's trick. He trips you up and gets you to sin. And then he whispers, See, you're not a believer. You're not in Christ. You're not going to make it to heaven. Ha ha ha. You thought you were stone Holy. That's the way the devil talks. And. And humans will talk that way, too. If they say you're Christian. And I mean, you say you're Christian, and then they hear you say some sarcastic word at work. They'll come see me. Christian sound just like everybody else. And then you devastate. But here's this is all rooted in Christ. Who's coming? The reason we can. The reason Micah could talk this way is because there was going to be some day. Jesus Christ, who comes into the world, bears the sins of his people and dies in their place so that you could see. We can say what Paul says in Philippians 312. He said, I press on to make it my own, namely perfection and heaven and reward in Christ.


I press on to make it my own because Christ has made me his own. I love this picture, but. Ooh. Where. Where are you worried? Worry? Oh, there you are. And he's. Although all the way, he's got me right here. That's our only hope. All this. All this pursuit of joy is only possible because he has made us his own. He's bought it for us. You don't earn it by the pursuit. You receive it as a gift. The way we pursue it is by faith. It's like this. So I desired something I shouldn't desire. I stumbled. I fell. I sinned against him. He's upset with me and just disapproving of what I do. He's angry. I'm sitting in darkness. I'm going to bear my reproach. But while I sit here, I've got gutsy guilt. And I'm saying to the devil and to my own soul and to anybody who says they'll rejoice over me. Oh, my. When I fall, I will rise. And I'm going to rise because he is going to plead my case. And he's in judgment for me. And I'm coming out of this situation very soon. And I will see his righteousness. The whole Christian life is learning how to do that, because you're going to see and I promise you, before the day is over, what are you going to do with it? CAVE Let the devil get the upper hand by accusing you and making you feel absolutely hopeless because you've sinned again. There is hope only in Jesus because Jesus has paid for those sins and He will advocate for us and not against us. Argument number or strategy number five realized that the battle is primarily a fight to see God for who he is. So the fight for joy, the fight for faith, the fight to get out of that experience, there is a fight to see some 34 eight taste and see that the Lord is good.


The God of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ. Who is the image of God? That's what's happening in the world. We are, by nature, blind and dead, and the God of this world. The devil is continually throwing a cloak of confusion and deceit over the world so that the world can't see Christ for who he is. And our whole job as Christians, to throw those off, defy the devil, speak the truth, pray down the Holy Spirit, and see people awakened. That's our job as what the word does. The word pierces. The word pierces the darkness. And people then by grace are awakened. We, with unveiled face beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed from one degree of glory to the next. So if you want to be changed gradually into Christ likeness, what should you do? Answer Behold glory. That's why I'm so glad in Bethlehem we're preaching our way through John's gospel because that's the point of the whole book. We have seen his glory. Glory as of the only son from the Father full of grace and truth. That's what every story in John's gospel is about, revealing the glory of the son. So my prayer is that Bethlehem will be changed from one degree of glory to the next week after week, as we behold the glory of Christ. Hmm. Keep going. Number six, meditate on the word of God day and night. Now, this is where seeing happens. Mainly, we do see God in the theater of the world. The heavens are telling the glory of God. You walk out today, it's the sun shining. You should see God, the glory of God.


Your eyes should remember the illustration they gave in a sermon where when you take a little one year old and you want him to see a toy or a little puppy or something, and you say, Look, here it is, and he doesn't know what it means here. So all he does is look at your finger. And that's the way the world looks at the sky. The heaven is telling the glory of God. And scientists look up and see something to be studied. Well, there is something to be studied, but it's a thing. Go where? It's this. This is pointing at something. So it is out there. But I want you to meditate on the Word of God. Mainly, He restores my soul. The law. The Lord is perfect, restoring the soul. So if you want your soul restored, go to the word precepts of law to write. Rejoice in the heart. If you want joy in your heart, go to the precepts. Your words were found and ate them. They were a joy to me and became my delight. So if you want joy and delight, eat the word of God. I spoke in these things to you that my joy may be in you and your joy may be false. If you want your joy to be full. Listen to what Jesus has spoken. His delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night. He's like a tree planted by streams of water that yield its fruit in season and leaf doesn't wither. If you want to be the kind of person who has roots down deep so that when the drought comes, your leaves remain green while everybody else's leaves are shriveling up. Why? Because your roots are down, delighting in the law of the Lord.


Now may the God of hope fill you with joy in peace, in believing and believing what the Word of God mentioned earlier. Live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God. So you'll live, eat the word. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ. Do you need faith? Hear the Word of Christ. These things were written that believing you might have life in his name if you want, life believed these things and so on. You get the message saying to father in the truth, your word is truth. So if you want more sanctification, go to the truth. On and on. On the preciousness and the power of the Word of God. Maybe just a story or two. Here's Hudson Taylor, the founder of China Inland Mission and a great saint and missionary from 150 years ago or so. It was not easy for Mr. Taylor and his change for life to make turn for prayer and Bible study, and he knew that it was vital. Well, do the white writers know these are this is I think his son and daughter are writing this book. This is coming from Hudson Taylor. Spiritual secret. Well, do the writers remember traveling with him month after month in northern China by cart and wheelbarrow with the poorest of ends at night, often with only one large room for coolies and travelers alike, they would screen off a corner for their father and the writers. We would screen off a corner for our father and another for ourselves with curtains of some sort. And then, after sleep at last brought a measure of quiet, they would hear a match struck and see the flicker of candlelight, which told of Mr.


Taylor, however weary, was pouring over the little Bible in two volumes, always at hand from 2 to 4 a.m. was the time he usually gave to prayer, the time he would be most sure of being undisturbed to wait upon God. If an old man traveling by cart in northern China can find 2 hours to spend poring over his Bible, you can find time to. Yes, you can. And so can I. We all have exactly the same number of hours in the day. What we do with them is a statement of our priorities. That's what it is. And I'm encouraging you. If you want to pursue Joy, go to the word. One more story. This one had a huge impact on me about 25 years ago or so because I felt I was doing the same thing he was. The point is this Mueller right there. Mr. Mueller is the founder of the orphanages in in Bristol, England. Hundred 50 years ago or so, just a great, godly man of prayer. The point is this. I saw more clearly than ever that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was to have my soul happy in the Lord. Now, that's an amazing statement. Sounds very selfish, doesn't it? And it would be if we didn't have the last hours behind us explaining that you can't be of any use to anybody if you're not happy in the Lord, what are you going to give them yourself a duty, religion? What are you going to give people? So he knew that he had to fight for his soul first. The first thing to be concerned about was not how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord, but how I might get my soul into a happy state and how my inner man might be nourished.


For I might seek to set the truth before the unconverted. I might seek to benefit believers. I might seek to relieve the distress. I might in other ways seek to behave myself as it becomes a child of God in this world, and yet not being happy in the Lord and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by day. All this might not be attended in the right spirit. What he said, I didn't. I didn't print it. What he said that was so practically helpful was the way he. Early on in his Christian life, tried to do those devotions early in the morning to get his heart happy in the Lord was by praying. First He would come to his place and He would begin to pray, need pray for himself. He prayed for his wife and children and pray for the orphans in the ministry. And he said, I found myself so distracted in prayer that I could hardly get anywhere. And so he said, I shifted it. I whispered a prayer to the Lord that took maybe 10 seconds, asking his blessing upon my time, and he would come and teach me. And then I began to read the word and turn the word into prayer. That's what was so practically helpful for me 25 years ago, because that's the way I do it to this day. It is very difficult for me to pray for an extended period of time without being guided by the Word of God. My mind tends to wander all kinds of ways, and the Bible keeps me focused and tells me what I should pray. So I'm reading, praying, reading, praying, reading, praying forever for for however long you have. So go to the word and pray earnestly and continually for an open heart and eyes and an inclination for God.


You go to the Bible dutifully, it is put on your table, in your lap or in your bench with your elbows on either side. Start reading and nothing happens. What should you do? You should do this either too. Have you asked? Nothing in my name. Ask and you receive that your joy may be full. Ask for help. Where is it? Here we go. So when I start with someone 1936, incline my heart to your testimonies and not to gain. And then the second thing I pray is open my eyes that maybe hold wonderful things out of your law. You see what those two are? The first one is praying that my disinclination to read the Bible would be taken away. I find it amazing that the soul must praise that because it means he was disinclined to read the Bible. He wouldn't have prayed that otherwise. He said, Lord, my heart is tilting towards money or towards efficiency or towards the internet or towards whatever. And I don't want to pray. Frankly, I'm really eager to get to work or play or TV or newspaper or coffee, or that the psalmist is experiencing that. And against it, he says, Incline my heart to word. That means he can't make it happen by himself. You can't. This is a gift. If. If the means that God uses is the Word of God and you are disinclined to go to the word, what are you going to do? So you cry out. Oh, God, incline my heart. I pray this virtually every day. I don't assume that because I've been a Christian for 57 years that I will get up desiring to read the Bible tomorrow morning. I do not assume that. I cry out to the Lord.


Incline my heart to your testimonies. And the second prayer is opened my eyes to behold wonderful things out of your law. All right, I'm here and I'm reading and nothing's happening. And I'm not seeing anything exciting or glorious or life changing. I'm bored. What do you do then? You pray this, you plead it. Because if. If, if I sink into that frame and I stay there, I'm out of the ministry. My life in this church in large measure is at stake in whether this prayer gets answered daily for me. Because if this doesn't get answered, I'm dead. I can no longer be a pastor. It would be nothing to preach. I've not seen anything wonderful in the word. Let's eat, drink and be merry. For tomorrow we die. I don't know if I have it in this list, but. Here it is. Oh, satisfy us in the morning with your loving kindness that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. So now you've gotten there. You've prayed that you would see wonderful things. You're starting to see something. And you pray. Oh, God, no. Satisfy me with what I'm seeing here. Satisfy me with your loving kindness. Because that's the way you're going to keep from being grumbly, grumbling at the breakfast table, some tuning in and giving the finger to the people in the traffic on the way to work and being patient with people at the work. And because you're over the word This morning, God answered this prayer. He satisfied you in the morning with his loving kindness and you're moving through the day with that Macedonian fullness. Grace came down. Abundance of joy came up in the midst of hardship and poverty and overflowed in liberality to everybody around you.


Wouldn't that be beautiful if about 4000 people of Bethlehem live that way? What a beautiful thing it would be. So pray, pray, pray that God will satisfy your soul. Learn to preach to yourself rather than listening to yourself. Here's the syllabus Doing it. Why are you in despair over my soul? Why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God I shall again praise Him. He's talking to himself. So here's Martin Lloyd-Jones. This is a good book, by the way. Spiritual depression. If you labor under depression or just a gloomy frame of mind, a lot of times this will help you. He's very realistic. He was a doctor before he became a pastor. He was a medical doctor. Quite a good one. So he knows all the physical components to depression and discouragement and and he knows the spiritual components. And so this was written a long time ago. You see that 43 years ago, The four years ago. But still good is he says, have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you and the moment you wake up in the morning, you've not originated them, but they're talking to you. They bring back the problems of yesterday. Somebody is talking who's talking to you. Your self is talking to you. Now, this man's treatment, some 42, was this Instead of allowing yourself to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. Why are you downcast? Oh, my soul. Yes. His soul had been despairing, depressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says, Self, you listen for a moment. I'll speak to you. So. Right. That's so good.


You may remember a couple of weeks ago, I told you about going away with Noel for a 40th wedding anniversary and reading some 40. Some 40 and your 40th wedding anniversary. And we got to verse five. We do this every time we wake up. And when we did it again this morning, we alarm went off. At 6:00 this morning, Noel's heading for Bloomington or somewhere to speak to some ladies and I heading up here. We're lying there for we out a bed and I say, Am I correct? Every voice you have multiplied. Oh, Lord. My God, your wonderful works and your thoughts toward us. None can compare with you. I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told. And she's saying it with me. Because. This. Talking to yourself works in marriage. Because we looked back over the last years and we thought we've experienced enough stresses and trials in our family and elsewhere that our lunch dates on Monday were mainly the rehearsing of problems. We just narrated the problems and we were good at it. We analyzed them till they were dead, you know, and and I and she seldom spoke the word of God into those lunches. Let's call to mind some promises here. Let's just speak some Bible verses in here. And so when we read this, you have multiplied, Oh, Lord, your wonderful works and your thoughts toward us. I will proclaim and tell of them. When I read that, I said, Let's make that our 19. I mean, our our 29/41 wedding year verse, which it is now. So you can come and ask us at any time during the year how are you doing with verse five or some 40 and, and things are better and mean.


Do it, we're doing it. We'll, we're, we're about 24 days into this thing. And and I just want you to know that this doesn't just work privately individualistic talk preach to yourself preach to the marriage with promises, the wonderful thoughts of God toward us. Number nine, spend time with God, saturated people who help you see God and fight to fight. I'm giving you that. If you want a category to put all these answers under these nine things I've said so far, these are called means of grace for that phrase. Means of grace. Grace is what makes the difference. It's a gift. Joy is a gift. Faith is a gift. But there are means that God has ordained through which the gift comes. And so here's another one God saturated people who help you see God and fight to fight. Jonathan Rose and went to David at Horus and strengthened his hand in God. Then a great picture. He strengthened his hand. What's wrong with you, David? Why? Why can't you be strong in the Lord and not need Jonathan? Well, because God has ordained that there be a church and that there be believers, there be small groups and clusters of friendship and people around you who when you start to sink in your hand and their strength in a new they're saying things you need to hear and they're standing by you through thick and thin. God ordained for them for His grace to come through people. It's all over the Bible. And you could say, Well, I think I would get more glory if he did it directly instead of through people. Well, you can say that, but that's probably just not true, because not only does he have to bless you in order for you to be graciously treated through somebody, he's got to bless them as well.


And so you get to people giving thanks to God instead of one. And so how do you quantify the glory of God? Take care, brethren, that there not being any of you, an evil, unbelieving heart, leaving the followers of the living God, but encourage one another day after day as long as it is called to day, so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of stand. Isn't that amazing? Encourage one another day after day. Don't go very long without being around people who encourage you. It's why we put small groups as part of the meat and potatoes of this church. People opt out of the small group life of the church. I'm hoping and praying that they've got a network of people that are doing that pretty regularly for them. Because if you forsake this, you forsake one of the a crucial means of grace. It is not easy to be a Christian by yourself. Not easy to be a Christian. Period. He walks with the wise will be wise. Number ten. Be patient in the night of God's seeming absence. I waited patiently. This is almost the same as gutsy guilt. I just want you to see the waiting piece. We didn't stress that there. This is David talking. One of the first messages I gave, and if it's online or not, might be was an evening message. I was doing some psalms for summer here. I came in the summer of 1980, and I remember a few sermons. Not all of them, but I remember this one. And it was called in the pits with the king. In the pits with the king. It was based on some 40. Who's king? David. And he's in the pits. And there's lots of lessons about being in the pit here.


I waited patiently for the Lord and he inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay. He set my feet upon a rock and made my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. That's pretty good. Evangelism. Pit dwelling is a good preparation for evangelism. You agree with that? Never says I waited. Where are you waiting in the pit. Larry Clay. Hello. How long? There was a man here named Bob that got to be with the Lord now. Who's a who's depressed for eight years. And he was so depressed that he was like a zombie at home with his wife during the day. And some days he would walk around like this and she would go to the bathroom and he would just come stand by the bathroom door like this. And when she opened the door, he would just go for it. This was serious depression eight years and came out of it four years. He was out of it. He came to prayer meetings over and over again for years, became a mighty warrior in prayer. And if you ask him what happened, he said, I memorized scripture and the word broke in. So he was an unbelievable scripture memorized, and he carried little cards around to give out to everybody. And now the the the chief response to that would be, So why did it take eight years? What's with the word of God? And I don't know the answer to that. I don't know. I don't know how long he waited. I don't know. I'm glad it doesn't tell us.


For three weeks, three months, three years. I'm glad it doesn't tell us because it leaves it open ended for you. All I know is if you're there in the pit, in the miry clay, wait for the Lord. Don't throw in the towel. So many people just say, if I'm out of here, I'm just. Christianity is not real. I'm quitting. It's over. This is this horrible Mary Clay clinging around my feet. I'm out of here. But he waited, and the Lord inclined to him, heard his cry. How many times did it cry? A hundred times. A thousand times. He lifted me up out of the pit and then looked at the effect of it. He put a soul. He was able to sing again and sing again. And the effect of that song after that waiting was that people trusted in the Lord. Nothing you go through is in vain. Nothing is in vain. Number 11. Get the rest and exercise and proper diet that your body was designed by God to hear. This is so nitty gritty. Why did you include that? Not very spiritual. You're right. It's not just unbelievably important. Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. In vain. You rise up early and retire late to eat the bread of painful labors he gives to his beloved, even in his sleep. Getting up so early and stand up so late trying to prove your God and marriage your life. Just go to bed like a little baby and let the Lord minister to you in your sleep. Isn't it amazing? I mean, this book. One of the biggest struggles and it's got a big section in here, is basically how does the body relate to Joy? How does the body relate to worship? How does the body relate to all kinds of things? We are embodied souls and the link between all of our spiritual life.


And this body is so close. Who can even imagine it? Nobody has ever fathom the mystery of the connection between the brain and the soul. Those who don't believe in Christianity would say, Of course, there is no such thing as a soul. And all you are is brain and everything we call spiritual affections or worship. And you say it's just chemical things going on in your brain. Now, there's a partial truth in that, because I'm talking right now and all kinds of synapses are firing away in my brain and you could be reductionistic and interpret everything. I'm say everything I'm feeling, everything I'm thinking and totally chemically and electrically and physically. You could hardly anybody is willing to live that way. Fall in love. And she says those are just chemicals. You say you love me. It just twitches in your brain. This is no different than the earthworm, just more sophisticated. Nobody lives that way. Everybody on the planet who's a human being at some point necessarily interprets our life supra, physically. Otherwise, it loses all of its meaning. And one of the tragic things about our day with naturalistic evolution is that we are trying our best to teach our children that they are nothing but physical and we should not be surprised in when they behave like dogs in heat. There is no significant moral difference between goats jumping on each other and human beings jumping on each other. We've taught them there is no big difference. It's just kind of a great addition of sophisticated evolutionary physical phenomena. But if you believe that there's God, He created us, he means to do us good. He has a way that we live that is wholesome and pure good and right, and glorify him and bring deep satisfaction to us.


Then there comes significance into your life, and you try to think through eating, exercising and sleeping. I just give you a concrete illustration of how I struggle with this. I remember the day in Germany, 1972, about somewhere between 7174 where it just clobbered me. Patience, it says in Galatians five, is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. So is the Fruit of Holy Spirit. Is love, joy, peace, patience. Now, patience means you're your fuze is long, you're trigger is not a hair trigger. You're slow to anger. You treat people with grace. If they say something hurtful, you don't immediately strike back. There is patience. We all know what patience is. You're in a line and it's going very slow and you're not fuming. You're in traffic like I was last night. We're not fuming, patience. We know what that is. And the Bible says it's a gift, a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Well, it hit me. Wait a minute. Patience is a fruit of sleep. For me anyway. If I miss a night sleep or if I get, say, two five hour nights in a row, I'm irritable, my fuze is way shorter. My trigger is a hair trigger. Don't get too close to me with anything negative because you might pay. That's what the lack of sleep does to me. So how can you call it a fruit of the spirit when it's the fruit of sleep? That's the question that you ask over. You can do the same thing with food. If you get hungry, you get crabby. Right. I took up. I've done fasting. Serious fasting back when I was younger and I could do more serious fasting without dying. I tell you, I saw some stuff in my heart I didn't want to see.


You go to three days without food. Poor man, You can get mad in a hurry. So there's food. So it's sleep and it's food. And I know for a fact that if I stop running, I run three mornings a week, beat my body, trying to, you know, stay fit and be healthy. I know I get more discouraged and more depressed when I don't do that. Stuff is produced in my brain is little endorphins or whatever they're called, you know, and they function like anti-depressants made by God. That's true. It's designed that way. So now you got exercise, you've got sleep, you got food, all feeding these so-called spiritual realities of patients. What's the deal? And my my answer to that is God made us this way. And one of the ways now, the only way. One of the ways that the Holy Spirit produces is fruit, is by making you humble enough to go to bed and stop trying to be God. Go to bed like a little child. I mean, isn't it humiliating? I just regard God is. Oh, my. Why God, would you ordained for somebody with an ambition and a love of work like mine to have to be unconscious a third of his life? I find sleep so incredibly boring. I hate sleep. I want to read. I want to work. I want to write. I want to do stuff better. Why would God do that? Very simple. Unless you turn become like a child, you can't enter the kingdom of heaven unless you're humble enough to let God be God and run the world. And you just totally become helpless and unconscious for seven, 8 hours a day. You'll die. He set it up that way. So I think humility or the work of the Holy Spirit inclines us to eat right, inclines us to exercise right, inclines us to rest right in order that he might bear fruits through our body.


And if you know that eating too much caffeine makes you get a headache when you don't have it, you're probably hooked and you should somehow break it. And on and on and on. Jonathan Edwards I won't read this, but Elijah and Jonathan Edwards worked hard to find those foods and exercises that would maximize their their joy and going, okay, we're out of time. Let me just throw these others on the overhead, make a proper use of God's revelation in nature. I think I've said enough about that along the way. Great quote from SPURGEON. I love but won't read read great books about God and biographies of great saints. This is simply applying to those who are dead. What we said about hanging out with godly people in life. Okay. There are people in this room you should hang out with who are godly, who will strengthen you and sharpen you. And there are a few hundred dead people that you should get to know and and read their books because they will be used by God to strengthen your faith and increase your joy. Do hard and loving things for the sake of others. Because Isaiah 58 says that when you pour yourself out for others, you become like a watered garden. It's more blessed to give them to receive. And finally, get a global vision for the cause of Christ and pour yourself into to the unreached. This is simply saying that not everybody should be a missionary, but God is after the world. He wants to redeem people from every tribe and tongue and people in nation. And until we get our souls around the world are our souls are probably going to stay smaller than they should. If you want the capacity to feel as much joy as you can feel, then enlarge your heart to include the whole world and pray down God's blessing on the entire world.


So some of all the God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. And the reason we as sinners can be satisfied in him is because Christ died in our place. He took all of our sins. He provided the righteousness we need. He took hold of us so that all of our quest, things after joy are quest things from a standpoint of forgiveness and a standpoint of justification. We are already vindicated in the courtroom of God. We're not questing out of a sense of insecurity. We're resting in him. He bought us by his blood and righteousness. And now in that confidence, that gut see this, we fall. Sometimes we walk sometimes and we're pursuing maximum joy, fullness of joy forever. You have shown me the path of life in your presence is fullness of joy. At your right hand are pleasures forever more as pray. Gracious father. How kind you are to help us for these 5 hours together. Father. I learned so much now to grow in the intensity of my affections for you and for my brothers and sisters here, and for the lost those who are without Christ and need to have their eyes opened. Oh, God. Would you grant that eye opening work for us or. That we might see and savor and be satisfied with Jesus Christ and pour ourselves out in love for the world. In Jesus name, I pray. Email. Thank you for listening to this message by John Piper, Pastor for preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Feel free to make copies of this message to give to others, but please do not charge for those copies or alter the content in any way without permission. We invite you to visit desiring God online at w WW dot desiring God dot org.


There you'll find hundreds of sermons, articles, radio broadcasts and much more all available to you at no charge. Our online store carries all of Pastor John's books, audio and video resources. You can also stay up to date on what's new at Desiring God. Again, our website is w WW dot desiring God dot org. Or call us toll free at 1888346 4700. Our mailing address is desiring God. 2601 East Franklin Avenue. Minneapolis, Minnesota. 55406. Desiring God exists to help you make God your treasure because God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.